European Lotteries, an umbrella organisation for national lotteries across Europe, has insisted that the EU Council exclude explicit mention of online gambling and betting services from the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Ahead of this week’s meeting in Brussels, the organisation stressed that mention of online gambling within the context of freedom of establishment is inaccurate.
It claims that any reference to gambling or betting services within this context ‘implies that national regulations on illegal content in the gambling sector are often not in compliance with the EU law.’
EL pointed out that whilst restrictions on the freedom of gambling services within EU Member States do exist, that national legislation “combats crime and fraud” and protects gamblers in a way “that meets the requirements as set out in the caselaw of the Court of Justice of the EU.”
The European Commission underlined that the DSA would not contradict the e-Commerce Directive, which does exclude online gambling services from the legislature.
Arjan van ’t Veer, the General Secretary of European Lotteries, commented: “The explicit mention of online gambling and betting services in this particular context is misplaced and should therefore be deleted. It fails to take into account all the relevant case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU and the very nuanced approach to the gambling sector due to its peculiar nature.
“The Court clearly confirmed on several occasions that restrictions in the gambling sector are justified for reasons of public order, public security, public health, as well as for the overriding reasons in the public interest, such as consumer protection, combating fraud, crime or squandering of money.
“Failing to recognise this means risking increased activities of illegal gambling operators, damaging individuals and society as a whole.”